Last July, scientists at CERN, the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research, announced finding a particle they described as Higgs-like, but they stopped short of saying conclusively that it was the same particle or some version of it.Scientists have now finished going through the entire set of data year and announced the results in a statement and at a physics conference in the Italian Alps."To me it is clear that we are dealing with a Higgs boson, though we still have a long way to go to know what kind of Higgs boson it is," said Joe Incandela, a physicist who heads one of the two main teams at CERN that each involve about 3,000 scientists.Its existence helps confirm the theory that objects gain their size and shape when particles interact in an energy field with a key particle, the Higgs boson. The more they attract, the theory goes, the bigger their mass will be.But, it remains an "open question," CERN said in a statement, whether this is the Higgs boson that was expected in the original formulation, or possibly the lightest of several predicted in some theories that go beyond that model.But for now, it said, there can be little doubt that a Higgs boson does exist, in some form.Whether or not it is a Higgs boson is demonstrated by how it interacts with other particles and its quantum properties, CERN said in the statement. The data "strongly indicates that it is a Higgs boson," it said.
So now the question is "which Higgs boson have we found?" Being able to work with the particle that grants mass would pretty much revolutionize physics as we know it, but for now just knowing that "Hey, this is how the universe works" is pretty humbling.
Science for the win.